Woman in Gold

"Very Good"

Woman in Gold Review


This fascinating true story is strong enough to hold up against the formulaic Hollywood treatment, boosted by another riveting performance from Helen Mirren. She adds some badly needed prickly humour to the film, which continually resorts to unsophisticated sentimentality as it traces a remarkable series of real events. And it helps that the story has some intriguing things to say about both art and history.

It opens in 1998 Los Angeles, where Maria Altmann (Mirren) has discovered some documents in her late sister's belongings that refer to a beloved portrait of their Aunt Adele (Antje Traue in flashbacks). The problem is that the painting is Gustav Klimt's Woman in Gold, which is regarded as the "Mona Lisa of Austria" and held in pride of place in the national gallery. Since Austria has begun restoring art stolen from its citizens by the Nazis, Maria hires novice family-friend lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), who quickly realises the futility of the case. But they travel to Vienna to begin the process, getting some help navigating the system from local journalist Hubertus (Daniel Bruhl). Sure enough, the Austrian government fights Maria at every step of the way.

The compelling argument in this film is that if Austria acknowledges that this national treasure was stolen, it implicates the government and the population in complicity with the Nazis. And that's something no one is willing to do. There's also of course the issue of greed, since Woman in Gold is worth $100 million. But Maria's simple question is why the painting's value or status matter when its true ownership is so clear. Director Simon Curtis and writer Alexi Kaye Campbell wisely dash through the series of hearings, court cases and appeals, while emphasising this undeniable fact of the case. Although this also simplifies most scenes into little more than "Nazis bad, Jews good". While the flashbacks to Maria's past are moving and informative, Randy's sideplots feel irrelevant and undercooked, featuring his pregnant wife (Katie Holmes) and sardonic boss (Charles Dance).

At the centre, Mirren gives Maria plenty of spark, offering sharp glances and witty dialogue to keep the film from feeling too over-serious. She also has superb chemistry with Reynolds, who feels oddly miscast in this tenacious-nerd role. Bruhl manages to bring plenty of weight in a small part, while other characters are less developed but add an emotional kick when needed, including Tatiana Maslany as the younger Maria, Max Irons as her opera-star husband and Elizabeth McGovern and Jonathan Pryce in fizzy cameos as judges. Altogether, this solid cast manages to lift the somewhat preachy narrative into something resonant and thoughtful.


Woman In Gold Trailer

 



Woman in Gold

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

In Theaters: Friday 3rd April 2015

Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

Production compaines: The Weinstein Company, BBC Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Fresh: 1 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Simon Curtis

Producer: David M. Thompson, Kris Thykier

Starring: as Maria Altmann, as Randol Schoenberg, as Young Maria Altmann, as Pam, as Fritz, as Sherman

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.